What To Do When Everything Goes Wrong

By Jamie McSloy / April 25, 2017
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Tuesday 25th April started off fantastically for me.

A few weeks back, I’d sent out an email to a potential client. They’re apparently looking for new writers, pay better and offer better work terms than I was used to. Well, on the morning of Tuesday 25th April, I got an email back from said potential client.

They wanted to know what I was about and thus there was a chance of my getting new and better freelance work. Even if I didn’t get hired, I’d framed the original email in a way that I’d probably get a ton of useful information out and leads to follow up on later.

All in all, it was looking good.

I wrote an email to the guy, and was desperately checking my emails every twelve seconds to see if he’d reply.

Realising that it took two weeks to get back to me in the first place, I decided to find something constructive to do instead.

That’s where it all started going wrong.

(Time Out: If you’re enjoying this article, then you should probably sign up to my mailing list, where I give out ideas and business tricks that I don’t share publicly. Click here, fill out your details and get yourself on the list! You won’t leave this page.

Now Back To The Regular Programming Schedule…)

Now, not a lot of you will have noticed, but over the past few weeks my site had been having trouble.

Mostly, this revolved around a caching issue but it also involved my subdomains reaching weird usage level limits.

This meant that the fabled Secret Island and my Copywriting Portfolio site didn’t work. No matter what I tried, there was no way to access the admin panel nor was there any way visitors could actually get to the site.

Anyway, I got an email from my hosting company saying, “The problem should be fixed. Please do A, B and C and it’ll work.”

Now, B and C were to clear and reinstall the subdomains. Here’s where we have a problem.

Sometimes I’m Stupid

Now, I thought to myself, “Better make a backup of these subdomains lest it all goes wrong and I lose the data.”

Clever Jamie.

I went into my Cpanel and Softaculous (Where you install WordPress) and I thought, “I know… I’ll clone the install so at least I’ll have a backup.”

This saved me uploading my backup software, taking a backup, saving a backup and then going through the torturous process of uploading it all again.

Great idea!

Except some dumb arse moronic idiot – when not paying attention – managed to overwrite the main site with one of the subdomain.

Suddenly hundreds of posts, pages, comments and everything were wiped out.

God damn.

Anyway, at this point I’m feeling a bit pissed off, to put it mildly.

But I do have backup software and backups of my site just in case.

So I reinstall the site after spending about half an hour browsing the internet to see if I could revert the whole thing… apparently not.

I then upload my site backup.

Bear in mind I’ve used this program to migrate tons of sites and it’s never let me down.

Until today.

“We’re sorry… there must be a problem with your backup file.”

At this point… I was ready to kill someone. (Not literally.)

…But you’re reading this, so I’m not in jail and the site must sort of exist in the future.

(At the moment, I’m copy-pasting everything and I’ve only got 494 articles to go!)

This article isn’t going to break the chain in “nominally helpful to readers” so we’ll leave the tale of woe behind.

Here’s what to do if it all goes wrong.

What To Do When It All Goes Wrong

Here’s what I wanted to do when I realised I’d deleted my site from the face of the Earth:

  • I wanted to kill people, beat prostitutes and shoot tons of heroin

That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but these thoughts did cross my mind:

  • Eat Junk Food (I don’t drink, do drugs or anything like that, but by golly do I like food that’s bad for me)
  • I wanted to quit the internet
  • Abandon the business
  • Go to sleep
  • Shout at whoever bothered me first
  • All kinds of other things

Sometimes stuff goes wrong, and your first temptation will be to lash out in anger or frustration. Unwittingly, you can make it worse.

Here’s what you should do instead:

Go For A Walk.

Even you take a five minute walk around your house and to the end of your garden or something. Go get a glass of water and here’s the important thing: Don’t do anything until that initial rush of pent up emotion has gone.

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve lost a massive contract.

Or your girlfriend has broken up with you on the phone.

Or you’ve broken your motorcycle.

If you act out in that initial moment of anger and frustration, you will exacerbate the problem. You’ll make it worse.

So wait out the first few minutes or hours.

Then Think About The Best Solution

Even once you have your emotions in check, you won’t come to the best conclusion immediately.

You’re probably going to think some of these:

  • How can I get back what I’ve lost?
  • How can I get back to square one quickly?
  • Can I use this to get ahead quickly?
  • Who can help me?
  • I bet having some drugs/burgers/hookers will help
  • Can I spend money on this problem?

Get those thoughts out and then think sensibly. There are two things you need to do:

  • Damage limitation
  • Reconstruction

Let’s say  your girlfriend’s cheated on you with the milkman, and you’ve found your stuff in bin bags outside the front door of her place.

Emotional Response: Kick the door in and kill the pair of them.

Bargaining Response: Beg, call your ex-girlfriend or dump your stuff in the back of your car and go find a bar to wallow your sorrows away in

Real Response: Cool off, collect your stuff, drop it off at your place.

Then damage limitation = changing your online banking and Netflix password and all that sort of tie-cutting stuff.

Reconstruction = getting on with your life and not letting one thing cause a domino fall of everything else.

In the case of a website going down, it’s really not that big a deal.

Damage limitation = stop messing around and making things worse. Find your data through whatever means necessary and let your readers know you’ll be out for a while and the world’s not ending.

Reconstruction: Work from your last backup, or if that doesn’t work, go to archive.org or word documents and salvage what you can.

Final Thoughts

There are times in your life where a momentary slip feels like the end of the world.

It’s not.

There are very few things that’ll cause your life to be hopelessly and irreparably damaged. A relationship break up, a business failure or some rejection or other aren’t in that category.

Take a few moments. Collect yourself. Find the rational and best course. Forget the emotional baggage, and don’t allow whatever is bothering you to affect the rest of your life. Then rebuild and make your life better.

Speaking of which… I’ve got 500 articles to copy/paste from Word documents right now.

  • […] Sometimes though, life throws a spanner in the works; and what I actually did was spend a whole week rebuilding this site from the ground up because it was broken. Read more about that in this link. […]

  • Jakub says:

    When bad stuff happens:

    Calm down, see what’s there, and do what you can with it.

    That’s the only thing that matters. What can I do next?

    Ok, what’s next? X and Y.

    Not “How it should be”, or “how unfair it is”. Doesn’t matter. Those statements have 0 use in your life (except when selling to the masses – then match their state).

    “Just how frustrating would it be to wake up one morning with your entire websites contents wiped clean? Would you be ready to kill whoever did it? And if your backup failed… All your life’s work would be lost… Your precious words. Your assets. That’s why you need to get Super-Backup-Pro-Guaranteed-100% Backup Rate today!”

    Use emotions to sell. Use reason to make decisions.

    There’s a rule from some book read years ago… 1 minute, or 5 minute rule. Here’s how it works:

    If something happens, you can be pissed for 1 minute. Scream, yell, shout, punch a pillow (not around other people of course). After that – no more. 0 emotions. Breathe. Step back.

    Or just do that.

    Breathe and step back. Breathe slowly. Focus on your breath. Relax your tense muscles. Control your emotions.

    Then assess what you have, and what the best course of action is. No matter how much you want to ‘kill someone’, do the best course of action instead.

    Welcome back (again) Jamie.


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